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Reviewed 6 November 2008

We have just returned from Pelawan where we spent five days in a water cottage at Lagen Island Resort. We had the most wonderful time and I completely agree with the previous review of this hotel. Just the boat trip from El Nido to Lagen Island is worth the trip. This is probably one of the most awesome and beautiful places I have ever been to. I am astounded to realise that Lagen Island is 'only' a three star hotel. I would have expected it to rank much higher with everything it offers. My husband is a keen diver and went for two dives every day which he enjoyed and rated highly. My goal was to be as lazy and inactive as possible and to just read and chill out. Initially I was a little put out when we were permanently questioned which activities we wanted to do. I have zero interest in rock climbing or kayaking and interesting as the odd day trip is, I really wasnt keen to overdo things. I neednt have worried, once I made my position clear my wish for laziness was happily accommodated. Besides, I couldnt resist the private picnics on deserted beaches and the BBQ at Miniloc. Most gorgeous of all was a visit to Miniloc Lagoon which is almost mythical in its beauty, its clear clear emerald and turquoise water, its tropical plants hanging from the sheer rock face and the complete silence broken only by the odd cackle from a macaque monkey. A total and utter dream and sheer unadulterated magic.

I was impressed by the variety of food on offer at Lagen but would have liked to have seen some healthier hot food options such as grilled fish and steamed veggies and not just quite oily stir fries and stews. Still, the salad and the fruit were plentiful and delicious and the shabu shabu soup was fabulous.

Having seen both Lagen Island Resort and Miniloc, I am glad that we chose Lagen Island. It is marginally more 'grown-up' and more private .It also has a very nice pool although no beach to speak of. This wasnt a problem in any way since there are a multitude of beaches just a short boat ride away. Miniloc, I would say, might be nicer for a younger crowd as it seems to have a stronger sense of community and interaction but while there is a beach there, there is no pool and the overall vibe is a little simpler and more basic. Both are lovely and ultimately I'd have been happy at either.

  • Stayed: October 2008, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Kia A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 August 2008

me and my boyfriend 1st visited sabang, puerto princesa to visit the underground river. and we thought we'd get stuck back there, and had to rent a van for 10,000 pesos and travel 7 hours on rough terrain!!!

but when we saw cadlao island while approaching the town, it got us excited and woke us up from our tired sleep in the van.

the resort staff was supposed to pick us up at the el nido town pier, but we had to contact them coz we arrived earlier. our guide, reynan, was very friendly. the view of bacuit bay and the islands was simply amazing, and reynan introduced us to the islands even though we just passed them by. we loved helicopter island coz of it's shape.

we got so excited as we approached the resort and saw the water cottages. we were greeted right away by our event coordinator Yu and led us to the clubhouse, where we were welcomed by the staff and management with local songs. the resident manager, our coordinator and another girl briefed us about the resort and the islands in the bay. the resort is really eco-friendly and they also help in preserving the islands and nature itself, both on land and sea.

our water cottage was really awesome, so big and spacious and clean. love the bathroom. the downside ws that we can't jump into the water below us coz it was shallow. and oh, i noticed that there were 2 mattresses put side by side to fill king-sized bed instead of one whole mattress, but it was ok, the bed was still very comfortable. there was a balcony outside with a view of the resort the the limestone cliff. and there were a lot of fishes below.

the food was amazing, we tried everything they offered, from asian, to western, until we were so stuffed. too bad the drinks were not included in the package. i love their breakfast most especially!!! lolz...

the next day, which was 08 august (the opening of the beijing olympics AND my boyfriend's bday), we woke up early coz we had a full day ahead. after a hearty breakfast, we went on a 30-minute hike on the island and ended up at beautiful beach cove, of course, we had a guide, chris, who was also friendly. there were 2 kayaks waiting for us, one for us, and one for chris, who was also our kayak guide. he used to be a fisherman before he worked for the resort, isnt that amazing? after a while, he left us to venture on our own, but not far, and to come back on time for our next activity. we had fun kayaking, or, as i remember, i had fun kayaking while my boyfriend jumped into the water coz he cant help it, it was very beautiful, and he had fun swimming and tagging along the kayak.

we went next to explore the big and small lagoon, which were awesomingly stunning and marvelous. oh, during that activity, only one other couple were the non-japanese guests in that group. we went swimming, snorkeling and had an introductory scuba dive in the small lagoon. it was sooo much fun, and staff too were fun and friendly.

then we headed to pangulasian beach for lunch, again, their food was heavenly. and the beach, a bit rocky at the edge but was white sand, was beautiful and also had a beautiful view of the turtle island across and i forgot the name of the other island. we also went snorkeling and swimming, while others were just lazing around at the beautiful beach cottages.

we went for a sunset cruise, and enjoyed the beautiful sunset. after that we headed back to the resort and had a full body combination massage, which unknotted my tired muscles. the massuese was really strong despite her small size.

we had an unforgettable dinner. i told most of the staff that it was my boyfriend's birthday and hinted to prepare something special. we had the usual feast, but at the end, the attentive staff asked us if we wanted dessert, we said no coz we were really tired and full, but the beautiful girl told us that they prepared something for my boyfriend, some of the restaurant staff sang a joyful and fun birthday song, and gave us a small, but mouthwatering chocolate cake that i never tasted before, and took a picture of him and they placed it in a beautiful frame. my sleepy boyfriend was enlivened, it was thoughtful of them.

the staff is really amazing and friendly. and i love how they coordinate activities in that resort. everyone had a radio and informed each other where and what the guests are doing. that's why when we went hiking, kayaks were waiting for us. and snorkeling gears. and life vests and large, comfy towels every time we rode a boat. they are concerned with our safety, (esp with my water-borne boyfriend who kept asking, "can i jump into the water now" even if the boat was moving). they were also very nature-friendly as i've mentioned earlier. they teach the guests to segregate the trash properly, and if we see trash in places it doesn't belong that we should pick it up, and they gave us bags to keep our trash. they are very organized.

only a few filipinos can afford to visit this resort, but it's worth it. i recommend this place to everyone, not just the resort.

  • Stayed: August 2008, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank catcherintherai
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 May 2008

Just returned from my first visit to El Nido, specifically Lagen Resort. What a fantastic stay. What my friend and I really loved were the friendly staff at Lagen. Always very welcoming and accommodating.

We kept busy with activities, no one flinched when we decided to change our plans and do nothing one morning. The sunsets at Lagen were breathtaking.

We splurged and stayed in a water cottage and it was like we had our own aquarium below our balcony. The room was comfortable, not luxurious.

This was possibly one of the best beach vacations I've ever had. I would love to return to Lagen in the future and hope the islands continue to be clean, environmentally friendly and hospitable.

  • Stayed: May 2008, travelled with friends
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3  Thank honhi96825
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 May 2008

This is about my third attempt to write this opening line as I can't seem to verbalise the beautiful experience I had at El Nido Lagen Island. We spent five days there and despite monsoon season starting early, this was not enough to dampen our memories of the island. According to websites and travel books, rainy season doesn't start until June but someone forgot to tell Mother Nature that!
What were my favourite things about the island?
1) The views from our Water cottage. We had the best views of stunning limestone islands and the deep blue waters surrounding the Bacuit Archipelago.
2) The food… I have never eaten so much buffet (this is no ordinary "buffet") in my life and it was a good mix of both traditional Filipino and western delights.
3) Most importantly, The Staff. Every single staff member, whether it be the boatmen, the cleaners, activity co-ordinators and the service staff were the ABSOLUTE BEST I have encountered. I have stayed at several 5 star resorts, but the warmth and the excellence of the staff need to be experienced first hand to be appreciated.
I must say this is hard earned money well spent and in a way (I am certainly no elitist by the way), I am glad that the kind of tourist this island attracts is different to those that would holiday in Bali, Thailand etc.
This is a beautiful, fantasy island that needs to be protected, it definitely is a jewel in the Philippines' crown and I hope to be fortunate enough in returning some day.

  • Stayed: May 2008, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank ChazH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 April 2008

Hubby and I chose this for the island getaway part of our honeymoon! We had the best time ever! I literally felt the stress of planning a wedding while working melt away. It felt a lot like camp for adults. Come on, you know you loved summer camp and miss that carefree feeling!

As soon as we got off the tiny plane in El Nido, our assigned activities director gave us a sheet of paper and asked us to mark all the activities we were interested in. We're adventurous types, so we marked everything from scuba diving to kayaking to snorkeling to fishing to island hopping to sunset cocktail boat cruise to picnic, etc. After we marked all the activities, we wondered how we could possibly do it all during a 3 day stay. Sure enough, we were handed a schedule a couple hours later telling us where to be when. (you can choose to do nothing if you want, but they go above and beyond with scheduling anything for you that you want).

Despite the rain that came and came (refreshing to us after the heat of Bangkok), we were able to fit many fun activities in, in addition to socializing at buy one get one san miguels at happy hour every evening, sitting on the porch of our water bungalow and reading, having private massages in our room and enjoying the surroundings. Our favorite activities were ....hmmm...everything! The intro scuba dive, kayaking in crystal clear lagoons (the most beautiful lagoons in the world...period), snorkeling surrounded by swarms of tropical fish, cave exploring and island hopping - all were great!

Our last night at Lagen we decided with 3 other couples (new friends) that we wanted to have a karaoke party. The staff went above and beyond and set up a room for us and took our drink orders from the makeshift karaoke bar for hours! All of the staff were great fun.

I could go on and on, but you'll just have to experience this place for yourself. I'll tell you one thing - I generally never like to travel to the same place twice - but as I was leaving Lagen Island, my only thought was: I can't wait to come back!

  • Stayed: July 2007, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank femalenomadwannabe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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